Be Assured Of This: Jesus Is Both Lord And Christ
By Pastor Teddy
Key Verse: 2:36
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
When the Holy Spirit came upon the believers on Pentecost Day, he was like a like a stormy wind which breathed life into those whom it touched. He was like a roaring fire which burned in their hearts to purify each of them. And a great transformation happened on that day to the hundred and twenty people who believed and waited upon God’s promise to come true. The Holy Spirit literally changed them on the inside! At one time they were ordinary people living ordinary lives. But the world they lived in was a world oppressed by the reality and power of sin and by the inevitability of death which follows every sinner and crushes everything in their lives; crushing even their dimmest hopes and faintest dreams, plunging them into despair. That’s the life they all used to live! But when the Holy Spirit touched their hearts they were made alive with God’s life; and this new life sparked in them a consuming faith in God; and a living hope in his Kingdom which can never die. The Holy Spirit ignited in them a faith and hope equal to that of all who are born again of Christ’s Spirit. And then power filled their hearts! It was the kind of power which enabled them to begin living for God; It was the kind of power that enabled them to testify to God’s love; and the power to witness to Jesus for the grace and mercy he showed them. And that’s the first thing all of them began to do. They all began to speak, but not in their own native language. Rather, the Spirit within them enabled them to speak in different languages. But each of them witnessed to the same thing. Each told of God’s wonders in a different language. They told of God whose love made him sacrifice his Son to save anyone— anyone who’s tired of living a sinful life, and anyone who’s lost in this dark world— that God loves them and invites them to turn their hearts back to him because he’s now begun to receive people back again into his kingdom. And as they each spoke these wonders of God to all the people on the streets, something amazing happened! (11)
The people who had come from every corner of the world were hearing these wonders of God in their own tongue and language. So they were greatly surprised to see ordinary unschooled tradesmen speak their own language. And in their utter bewilderment, they began to ask one of the most important questions of life: “What does this mean?” (12) Indeed, what does this mean? Most people hear the word of God spoken; they listen to it in various circumstances and at different times. It’s the very word of life which can bless them and change them and turn their hearts away from their mundane worldly life and help them escape their oppressive reality of sin and the guilt of it, and to soar in their spirits to touch God’s hand in sweet release! They hear it; and sometimes they are even amazed at it; but they never ask the most important of life’s questions: “What does this mean?” What a shame that they don’t, because when they don’t, they also never get to hear the answer which can bless and liberate them. Even in the church there are always those who listen but are too proud to ask. What a pity! But on that day, many who heard the word of God were asking, “What does this mean?” Of course, there were some who scorned what they heard as if life and one’s destiny are a big joke. But there was nothing funny about what happened on Pentecost Day. Something new had happened, when God poured out his Spirit of life on those who believed! And they were changed on the inside. When the Holy Spirit stirred their hearts, they bore witness to Christ with the confidence and assurance that come through the Holy Spirit to make a man or woman know Jesus’ true worth as well as their own true worth in the Lord— so much so that they can now stand to testify to him who sits on the throne.
When they asked “What does this mean?” Peter the one who in fear had denied knowing Jesus three times, but who was now filled with the Holy Spirit spoke up and began to explain what all this means. (14) He pulled out an old prophesy from the Bible which all these people were already familiar with, and began to explain to them what all this means. Peter explained that what’s happening, that is, the coming of the Holy Spirit on people wasn’t something out of the ordinary; it wasn’t unexpected; it wasn’t something that should surprise anyone. Actually what’s happening was something God had promised a while ago, which God was now fulfilling in his own time. “In the last days,” God had once said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (17) And so God did! And with the outpouring of the Spirit, God had also said— many things will change in the world and especially in the hearts of those who believe his words. Everyone who embraces the Christ, whether young or old, a son or a daughter, a man or a woman— anyone who believes would be touched by the Holy Spirit without discrimination. And God had said that some would prophesy, and others would see visions, and still others would dream dreams among those who are touched by the Holy Spirit. What exactly are these things, and for what purpose would God give them to his children? Whether prophesies or visions or dreams, all these were a clear manifestation of the Holy Spirit testifying that God’s word had been fulfilled— testifying that Christ who died and was Risen, was now exalted to his heavenly throne at his Father’s side. Why is this important for us to know? Because regretfully, some Christians covet such manifestations of the Spirit for their own selfish reasons and purposes, for the sake of their own prestige! But the truth is that whether prophesies or visions or dreams or whatever else the Spirit may impart to those who believe, they’re not given to boost your clout. They are given first and foremost to testify to Christ’s exaltation. After all, we who believe and are blessed with the Holy Spirit have in essence one prophesy, one vision and one dream only— that his kingdom come and that every knee in heaven and on earth to bow to our Lord Christ and worship him forever!
Now look at verses 19-21. When Peter had testified that God’s word of promise had finally come to pass, he made a momentous declaration. He testified that a day is coming on mankind and the world that’s dreadful. It’ll be a day of wonders and signs and blood and fire and darkness, a day when the moon will bleed and the sun will refuse to shine. It will be a day of reckoning when God will judge the world for its mockery of God and for its faithlessness in Christ. It will be a day of judgment for those who wasted their lives on self, on pleasure and on desire, and on selfish ambition. But in the midst of all the terrible news of destruction, Peter held out a bright shining torch for all who were listening to see. It was a torch of hope and of salvation for anyone who would believe! He said: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (21) It was an invitation that God was extending to these people who had asked “What does it mean” as well as for those who mocked! And God continues to this very day to extend that invitation. Until when? Until the day he comes to put an end to the devil and his dominion over this world. When that happens, it will be too late for anyone to call on the Lord for salvation and receive the Holy Spirit. In his introductory words, Peter offered this way out to them. After that, he began to explain to them why Christ is their only hope of salvation.
Look at verse 22. “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” Listen to this! Peter had something urgent to tell them, something they had already known because they had either witnessed it in person, or had heard it from others. Jesus of Nazareth was a man sent by God, but he was also not an ordinary man. He was accredited by God himself. In other words, Jesus was someone God had approved and established for a special purpose. And God’s hand upon him was evident. He did wonders which no other man had ever done before. His touch could heal the sick, calm a raging storm at sea, and raise the dead. Who would deny that God Almighty was working through Jesus of Nazareth to bless people’s lives and to heal the world! Shouldn’t they have embraced him and glorified him as God’s special gift to them? But they rejected him instead. Look at verse 23. “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Especially the Jewish leaders rejected him and abandoned him to wicked people to crucify him! Why? Because they couldn’t bear the words he was preaching. His words convicted them of sin and revealed their collaboration with evil— and all for the sake of increasing their own wealth and maintaining their own power! How often do people still do that? When they hear the word of God which convicts them of their selfishness and love for the world rather than love for God; when they head God’s call to repent, his words challenge their behavior and shakes their world; and so they reject God and his word! What these people did to Jesus is evil. At the same time it’s a reflection of what all of our human race did to Jesus. We— all of us— gave him over to be crucified. And he willingly took that dreadful punishment on the cross. We all need faith to receive this gospel message— to admit that Jesus was punished in my place for my sins, and to be thankful that he willingly took up that punishment so that I may be forgiven.
The world rejected Jesus and sentenced him to death on a cross, thinking this was the end of him. But Peter reminded the crowds that God had his own sovereign plans? Look at verse 24. “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Death to anyone is an agonizing thing. Death had been our enemy since the first man sinned and paid for his sins with death— that enemy of ours who corrupts and rots our bodies until any hope or dream or vision we have of life and for life is crushed under his feet! Yes, even though people don’t often think of death, and if they do they accept it in resignation and defeat, death agonizing because it takes everything away from us, and leaves men’s souls desolate and forlorn. Jesus, who is the author of life endured the agony of death for a short time on our behalf— so that those who trust him would never have t o endure that kind of agony ever! But God had a plan to raise Jesus from the dead. God loves his Son and honored his sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, and so he couldn’t endure to see his Son in the grave; So death had to give him up! After he rose, death could never touch Jesus again, nor touch anyone who belongs to him. This is the gospel message we are called to believe. Christ is Risen and alive, and so are all our hopes in him and in his kingdom; they too are risen and alive.
How important is this gospel message that Christ has risen from the dead? Look at Peter’s sermon to the crowds who were seeking to understand what God has done. Look at verses 25-32. At any time in history, the resurrection truth and faith is too much for human beings to digest. That’s simple to understand. Death has been our anguish. But death has also been human beings’ reality for so long that it’s ingrained on hearts and minds. But Peter didn’t budge. He knew that it would be hard to believe that anyone had risen from the dead. So he gave them a Bible study from their king David’s own words. He tells them here’s what David said about the Christ. Peter tells them that David couldn’t have been speaking about himself. The one he spoke of is the Messiah, the Savior for who else could sit at God’s right hand! Peter tells them that it’s not a strange thing that Christ was raised from the dead, for David prophesied about him that he would die as a man, but would not experience the decay of death. “Brothers”, he tells them, David who spoke these words is still in the grave. In other words: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.” (32) The resurrection of the Christ is one of the most important facts and truths and faiths in the Bible and in history. Without it, no one can ever hope to rise to a new life when God’s kingdom finally comes. It is a matter of life or death; it’s a faith no one can or should dispute. This is the gospel. It’s a fact and a truth! It’s amazing however how many Christians claim to be Christian on account of their morality, and yet disbelieve the resurrection because science refutes it! And it’s amazing how many Christians say they believe the resurrection, but their hearts continue to doubt. I suppose that even if Jesus appears to them today, doubters and science buffs would claim he’s an alien rather than believe who he really is, the Risen Lord and King of our lives and the holder of our destiny!
Peter and the other disciples witnessed the resurrection; they did not imagine it, nor fabricate it. But the resurrection was not the end of the glorious gospel message of salvation which God prepared for those who love him and believe his word. Look at verse 33. Peter continued: “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” There was a promise to keep. A promise to keep to Jesus and a promise to keep to all who believe in him and who receive his grace of forgiveness. God promised Jesus who obeyed God and sacrificed himself for the sins of the world— God promised to raise him from the dead and to exalt him to the highest heaven. And in turn Jesus would fulfill the promise God made to all of us who trust him in faith. The promise that in his exaltation to the highest heaven, he would pour on us all the gift of the Holy Spirit— who is God with us and God in us! God the Holy Spirit would now come to live in every believer and to give them life, to regenerate and sanctify them. That’s the gospel message! The fulfilling of that great promise that in his death and resurrection Jesus save us; and in his ascension to take his rightful throne at God’s right hand (34), he would fill us with the Holy Spirit. And so the Spirit came and He continues to come on everyone whose faith in is Christ till the very last day when God’s time comes and his enemies are silenced. (35)
Peter (look at verses 34-35) once again taught the crowd who were listening to the gospel message about David who spoke of all this in his prophetic Psalms. (Psalms 110:1) Then Peter went on to speak the final word to them. He said in verse 36 these immortal words: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” There are many uncertain things in life. We don’t know when we will die, or how we will die. We don’t know if we will make money on our investments or lose even the shirt on our back because of some illness that will wipe our pockets clean. There are many things we don’t know and aren’t certain of. But there is one certainty, one assurance, one faith, one conviction, one guarantee that is forever solid and immovable. “Be assured of this” Peter said: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” And yes God has. God has fulfilled his oath to his Son upon his sacrifice, to make him Lord and Christ. This means that he is both King and Savior. As our Savior, we love him and find our rest and peace and joy in him because his salvation to us is complete. There is no doubt that every word Jesus promised us as our Savior is coming true or will come true in time. And as our King, he demands our obedience and allegiance. It’s so strange that not many Christians understand what King means. They receive Jesus as Savior and friend, accepting his forgiveness, but they reject Jesus as their king. They live as they please, do as they please, say as they please. Their excuse is that Jesus their friend liberated them from all constraints. They have no idea that King Jesus is the King of heaven whose word is the only law by which we live our lives. People who don’t know Jesus as King should do what the crowds that day did. What happened when they heard this message?
It was a message these people had never heard before. But it was convicting because when every one of those who heard the gospel message looked into their hearts, they couldn’t but be honest enough with themselves. They saw that they were sinners in need of God’s mercy. And they saw that their sins couldn’t possibly be atoned for either through repentance, nor through remorse, nor through sacrifice. They were honest with themselves. They were in trouble with God. Look at verses 37-41. When they were honest with themselves and paid attention to their conscience, they couldn’t but be cut to the heart. They were broken. “Brothers, what shall we do”? they said. Peter simply told them what they needed to do. In fact they could do nothing, because no one can do a single thing to change his or her situation, or to mend his or her heart, nor the broken relationship one has with God. But there is one thing to be done, as Peter said: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (38) Peter also told them that this promise is not limited to certain people, but available to all whom God would bless. What could they do? Nothing actually. Just bring your broken heart before God in repentance for your sins, and be baptized (or inducted) in Jesus’ name into his family. And God will do the rest. He will give you the Holy Spirit and mark you as his very own, and you will walk in his word by His Spirit till the day your purpose on earth is done.
Today we heard from Peter a gospel message that not only saves those who believe, but that encourages us to embrace this gospel message very personally and share it with the world we live in. Exalted Jesus is on his throne and the Holy Spirit is still coming on all who repent and believe this message of life. We cannot and should not keep it to ourselves, but pray that all those whom we are serving on campuses and in work places may hear it from us and be blessed. Amen.